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Enterprising students get a lift from innovation accolades

Two groups of Northern Ireland university students have won awards at the Enterprise Ireland Think Outside the Box Awards 2011.

The awards, supported by Invest Northern Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys and Mammoth Advertising, have a total prize fund of €30,000 (£26,500). The awards aim to encourage students to explore their flair and talent for entrepreneurship and setting up a business.

Christina Finlay, from the University of Ulster, Coleraine, came second in the competition, winning €3,000 (£2,653) for her business Cordou. Already a registered company, Cordou has developed a series of apps that can provide technical support and information to sufferers of health conditions such as autism, and their carers. Phil Patterson, from Queen's University, Belfast, won the Technology Prize with his Rugby Lift project. Rugby Lift is an innovative training device which can help rugby players to improve lineout lifting skills. He received a prize fund of €7,500 (£6,633).

A €2,500 (£2,210) academic prize was won by Chris McLean, a lecturer from the University of Ulster, Coleraine, in recognition of his high-quality project and commitment to the awards. Chris's teams from the Coleraine campus have won the competition twice in the last three years.